Have you ever dreamed of touring through Southeast Asia? It is an exotic wonderland featuring many of the world's most stunning beaches, lush jungles, ancient temples and truly fantastic cuisine. It has long been known as a rather affordable destination - often, the most expensive purchase will be your flight but even the flights are not that expensive when you keep an eye out for good fares. For example, if you want to travel this November you can fly roundtrip from New York to Bangkok for $469. Which is an even better deal when you consider that November is the first month of the 'High Season' of travel to Thailand (although hotel prices could potentially be higher as a result.)
If you have ever traveled to Europe, you know that it is easy and convenient to travel across most borders thanks to the Schengen Agreement between 26 European countries - Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein. As long as you have at least six months before your passport expires (and you will be leaving Europe with at least three months left) then you are able to travel freely across the borders of participating countries.
The Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort, Cambodia
What is exciting is that the 10 countries that make up the Asian Association of Southeast Asian Nations - Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam - are looking into implementing this model of visa free travel as well. When you are flying halfway around the world, it is nice to know that you will easily be able to visit several locations! Not all of the member nations currently require an American visitor to have a visa - such as Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, or Thailand. But if you also wish to visit Myanmar or Vietnam then you would need a visa. Visa requirements can be confusing so it is always best to check well before you travel.
The Four Seasons Hoi An, in Vietnam
Hopefully this would lead to the entire region of Southeast Asia being its own tourist destination that could be explored with one single visa. This would be very beneficial to travelers as well because it would allow use of the region's low cost airlines to travel from place to place. It has long been possible to take a 'Grand Tour' of Europe - in fact it was almost a rite of passage for our Victorian forefathers - and soon enough, it just might be possible to tour Southeast Asia in the same way.
The Belmond La Residence Phou Vao in Laos
Gaya Island Resort, Malaysia
Have you traveled to Southeast Asia? Do you dream of visiting one day?